Dear People Who Make This Show We Love…

Photo: Starz, Outlander Season 1, Jamie and Claire

I wrote a response piece yesterday, to the Hollywood Reporter article/ interview with Jeffrey Hirsch. I might call it more of a reaction piece, really, but, hey, I’m human. (And so is Jeffrey Hirsch).

So, what’s the point? To stir everyone up and vilify Mr. Hirsch? No. Not at all. 

I strongly believe to effect change, actively practice forgiveness, move to a state of gratitude, and eventually focus on the solution (eventually, after processing). Everyone needs to do this at his or her own pace. Not trying to squash any feeling here.

Here goes me…

I am deeply thankful for my health, my family, my work, my community, and the wondrous world we live in.
I am thankful for Diana’s books, so thankful! 
I am thankful for the initial alliance and the early faithful screen adaptation of Outlander.
I am thankful for the enrichment I experience, as a result of Diana’s amazing work, and the show, including expansion of mind and being, travel, relationships, and the expression of my own creativity through my blog. 
I am thankful for the stellar community of women and men I have developed relationships with through Diana’s (and my) work. 
I am thankful for the gift of expression, and the opportunity to send love out into the world, and to receive it.

The Outlander books are a gift. I personally receive them as a kind of living word. They seem to have the ability to affect each person who reads them in a very personal way. They are profound, in my experience.

The early adaptation team seemed to really get this, and we experience that same magic in Season 1. I’m not saying this is wrong, but somewhere along the way, someone got the idea that this work is mostly about a strong woman, and that seeing her as a “strong woman” is what appeals most to the female audience of Outlander. I am actually grateful to Mr. Hirsch for so succinctly stating the perception, so we can discuss, with the goal of better understanding each other, and possibly both getting what we want? That would be pretty great.

I want to make the point that even though Ron D. Moore did Season 1 with the underlying idea that the story was about Claire, it worked. As the series continued, however, gradually, we saw choices to diminish the lead male character, and to “build up” the lead female. It started in Season 2, and by Season 4, it was rampant. The series has done well, so my best guess is that the interpretation by the network is that that’s why it is successful. Someone in a decision making position, is assuming that strategy is working. The whole point of this piece is to say, that’s not it. Antoinette (from our discussion group) says it best in my opinion: “Outlander is about the Jamie and Claire relationship, and how everything branches out from (and leads back to) that.” When episodes take on a different agenda, we still watch, but we don’t love it, and my experience is the audience is becoming more and more disgruntled. (I am speaking for a large contingency of fans I hear from through my blog and the many Outlander SM channels I frequent).

What is my/our ask? Please understand what we do want. We want a well developed, complex, intelligent male character, who doesn’t always acquiesce to the female lead, and we would like Claire to be more sympathetic and aware, a well developed, complex, intelligent female character. We want them to be of equal value, with equal say, complementary, but different: uniquely male and female, true to their respective time periods, and the one in which they find themselves. The story is about two exceptional humans in a respectful, lifetime love relationship. That is really what we want. Creative changes are great, no problem, but please stick close to the source material for who the characters are. (In other words, we don’t want a modernized portrayal of historical characters, aka, happy wife, happy life, and we don’t want to watch Claire save the day and belittle Jamie over and over again, this is really not fulfilling).

That’s it. That’s what we want. There is a big population with viable income and we will leap with pocketbooks flying wide open for the characters we have come to know and love in the books (and in the early seasons). We realize you cannot adapt these books word for word. That’s OK. Just please understand that the reason we watch is really not for the surgeon who goes back in time and gets a great looking guy. Those are details. We watch for the complex, layered, strong male and female lead characters, and the actors who play them. We watch to see their relationship and story unfold. That’s it! That simple. (We do like intimate scenes).

Please lose the idea that you are creating something for the disenfranchised women out there. Your demographic is full of women of all ages, really, (I say my demographic for my blog is about age 35 to end of life), of highly educated, super intelligent, complex women, most of whom have or have had pretty awesome relationships, families and careers (= pocketbook ?).

Thanks for listening. Wishing only the best for Jeffrey Hirsch, and anyone who happens to read this. And I am hopeful that this message gets through to those in a position of influence for Outlander, and that we will see more of the characters and story we know and love, going forward.


— Courtney


Click Here: For Diana’s Response o the Hirsch Comments.

Click Here: For Sam’s Response to the Hirsch Comments.



203 comments on “Dear People Who Make This Show We Love…

      • Ditto. And I too have become increasingly disenchanted with the direction the writers have taken. When I need an Outlander fix instinctively I only watch Season 1 or 2. Seasons 3 and 4 I had only watched once until I forced myself to go back and re-watch them to understand why I am so disappointed……….

  1. Thank you for your eloquent defense of the show’s version of Season 1 (sans Laoghaire shark jump) and the books. However, I think it is too late. Season 5 is already written and filming — I doubt they are filming and writing “on the fly” — it ain’t “Casablanca.” I think they are still on their current, erroneous path and it may be too late to change it for S6, if there even is an S6. JMO

    • I do hope Mr Hirsch and Starz listen to this reply to the Hollywood Reporter interview. I absolutely agree that Mr Hirsch has not understood his demographic (nor the age group of the ardent viewers) I would remind him that Outlander is not a story for the Hallmark channel.

    • Eloquent enough statement but you speak for you, not we (meaning me), as I don’t totally agree with your response. I have enjoyed all the seasons, and expect to enjoy seasons 5 and 6, and understand that it’s an adaptation not a word for word composition form for the screen.

      • I enjoy the tv show for the great acting and production values and I am fine with the fact it is an adaption but I have no problem agreeing with Courtney’s response because I also feel frustration that the essence of the Jamie and Claire characters is delivered differently to the books. They are written as total equals but, in my humble opinion, it is hard to deny it does not come across that way in the tv show.

    • Hope springs eternal Kathryn! My understanding is that Episode 412 was written and re-written up well into the filming of it, in fact they had to reshoot some scenes because the writing changed. We shall see. Hope is good. x

    • Thanks. You said what I was thinking: “It’s already too late.” I honestly don’t see how the show can be salvaged with its current direction. I’m one of the man who won’t pay to watch S5, and Pop Jamie and Claire are so disappointed.

      • For me the key word in this comment is “salvaged”. Salvaged of what…the book content? To my mind the books aren’t perfect & at times I didn’t like the way the story line went, but I hold the show in a separate place and so far am mostly pleased with the way the books havbe been adapted & in some cases improved.

    • I fully agree. This is superbly written with every Outlander fan.
      It is a terrific read.
      Many thank yous Courtney Williams
      A ?? Outlander Sassenach.?

      • I agree wholeheartedly Courtney. The show is diverging from the books unnecessarily & I wonder what Ron & Diana really think given the enormous discussions that was the preliminary. Let’s hope the production team take heed of comments given the enormous love for the books, show, actors by the fans.

  2. Courtney nails it right here “We want a well developed, complex, intelligent male character, who doesn’t always acquiesce to the female lead, and we would like Claire to be more sympathetic and aware, a well developed, complex, intelligent female character. We want them to be of equal value, with equal say, complementary, but different: uniquely male and female, true to their respective time periods, and the one in which they find themselves. The story is about two exceptional humans in a respectful, lifetime love relationship.” The dumbing down on Outlander and the politicization (the Slavery episode, the Rape episode) takes wonderful acting and tries to cram it into a theme to which I object. Intelligent readers and viewers get the art of subtle. We do not need “America the Beautiful” playing to get the irony. The producers “cute” is not. Just tell the story of the relationship between people. They are equals and subservience is not what made the original so compelling. Thanks Claire for keeping it real.

    • I fully agree. Very tired of writers taking ideas & deeds that are Jamie’s in the books & making them Claire’s in the show. Hate to see them diminish Jamie’s role/character to build up Claire’s. F that’s what the writers think they need to do to build up her character, then it wasn’t so strong to begin with.

      • And we know Claire is a strong enough character to stand on her own two feet, with a dashing strong husband at her side. It’s not a competition!

    • Hi Kelly, I actually liked the America the Beautiful overlay in 401, but I think we are on the same page regarding the overall approach and what is missing. Thank you. (And I love that you called me Claire! (Book Claire ?).

  3. The Starz COO is a man who is working on a broader marketing theme for the company’s content overall.
    I’m hopeful and Sam and Cait, as producers, understand their characters and the Outlander fans better. We shall see. It is the relationship that keeps us engaged. Claire without Jamie is not as compelling. Relationships are complicated and difficult. Staying true to their relationship is the key!

    • Esther, your so right. Claire without Jamie is not as compelling. Season 3 portrayed unlikely personality changes in Sam and Cait. Believe producers were trying to focus on what can happen in a relationship suffering a 20 yr gap. Yes, it’s only normal for someone to have changed. However, they really went overboard. Claire tending to her attacker,soon after their reunion was inconsiderate toward Jamie. Her determination, regardless of Jamie’s warning took precedent. Fans were aware this was not Claire’s natural behavior. Sam and Cait as co-producers is a good move, which should have been done long before now.

    • Yes, I’m hoping also, with Cait and Sam now producers, they will get this beloved story back on track.

  4. Very well said. I absolutely loved the first series and have become slightly disgruntled more and more as I watched the rest, not realizing exactly why. This letter has pointed out to me that my slight discomfort while watching the rest of the series, or my slight wonder about “there seems to be no there, there.” is justified. Thank you for succinctly and correctly (my opinion) for pinpointing the problem. I do NOT want to watch a politically correct show, I want one which shows the struggle between the two main characters and their different backgrounds and the eventual compromise. Thank you. (And yes, I do like the intimate scenes).

    • Thank you Vicki – well said. I have just finished watching season 3 and the first episode of season 4 and feel exactly the same. I am already very concerned that season 4 is going to disappoint.

    • I totally agree with you, Vicki. I think the original producer team with Moore at the helm was so much more true to the spirit of the books, rather than trying to make them relevant and PC. Diana’s work is so very good and true to human nature – I can’t understand why they would want to deviate from it. Thanks for saying what I’ve been feeling!

      • Yes, DeeDee, If they just trust Diana’s work, it is truly timeless, imo, it will accomplish what they’re after in a much bigger, more relevant, and more satisfying way. (imo).

    • Completely agree with all the above. Jamie must stay Jamie, must be a strong man as he became after the wedding, throughout Paris and the strain of the politics and the loss of their child. he must be the man who fought in Culloden but who saved his men. He must be Mac Dubh, the man who kept the prisoners at Ardsmuir straight and safe. He is a man of the 18th century, knowing what is going to happen in the future, thanks to Claire. And he may not be put down by Claire. She is strong and knows what to do, but they are equals and she has accepted to live with him, went back to him to be at his side in the 18th century. I understanf her reaction about slavery, but think that the role was exagerated in Jamaïca and at River Run. I think she was terribly unpolite and cold when she did talk to Jocasta. She was distant and not friendly, not grateful for the short time they stayed, did not even hugh Jocasta when leaving with Jamie for Fraser’s Ridge. This does not correspond to the books of Diana Gabaldon. As said by many of you above, we do ask for the story of Jamie and Claire and we do not need something politically correct as it is shown everywhere nowadays. We need the story of their life and love surroounded by the world and history. They are the important part! It is IN to be politically correct and everybody does that. We want Jamie and Claire back. As they were in S1 and part of S2. Husband and wife, lovers, parents and grand parents, a leader of man, someone who takes the right decisions with the advice or assisance of a clever wife and nurse, both in the 18th century and not ahead of time.
      I think it may be too late for a change, as they are busy filming S5 and probably S6 writing and preparing has already started. Presently I love S1 and te second part odf S2. And the love scenes, intimate scenes of coourse, some funny moments of S3 and S4. But when I want to watch I go back to S1 preferably. Often. less often to the rest. You can feel the presence of Ron D. More in S1 and in some other scenes. Which is great….

  5. Thank you. Season 4 went so far away from the books, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I’m afraid season 5 will be worse.

  6. Thanks Courtney – you’ve summarised our feelings nicely.

    The appeal of the books has always been the Jamie/Claire love affair and the books I’ve loved least have been those when the two of them are separated. I’m sure I’m not alone in almost skipping through the pages until they’re reunited. What is wonderful about their relationship is that it isn’t “woke” but it’s totally real so by emasculating Jamie the TV series is literally rewriting history.

    The reason why the books have such appeal is that Claire is a modern woman who has to make compromises to fit into the different environment of 18th Century Scotland and Jamie has to evolve into a more contemporary man in order to keep her. I suspect that the reason why so many of us older women love the novels is because they aren’t PC and the male characters are generally unreconstructed and this is something that we recognise and find appealing. I consider myself a feminist but that doesn’t mean that I want men and women to become homogenised – vive le difference!

    Although Sam is the physical embodiment of Jamie, more than we could ever have dreamed, If Jeffrey Hirsch and his team try to genetically modify his character I, for one, will be switching off and returning to the novels. And I don’t think I’ll be the only one.

    • Lesley Maclean, you hit the nail on the head with one sentence. “Claire is a modern woman who has to make compromises to fit into the different environment of 18th century Scotland and Jamie has to evolve into a more contemporary man in order to keep her.” The books are about how they are able to successfully do that and live out their lives together. Please drop the PC stuff….we all live in 2019 and we don’t need a lecture with each episode.

  7. Well said, it is the relationship that keeps us engaged. It was disappointing to see the subtle changes, with Claire belittling Jamie and Claire saving the day. The balance in the relationship between the two strong, mature individuals makes the story fascinating and engaging. I do wish Mr. H the best, but the board of Starz should really question if he is really the best person at the helm.

  8. Thanks, Courtney. You said what so many of us think about the show after S1, and you said it without anger. I appreciate that. I still love the show because the actors are SO good and it’s a chance to see our beloved characters come to life. I do feel sad (not angry), though, when the true essence of who Jamie and Claire really are is changed and lessened. Diana’s books are bestsellers and they are the source material. It’s hard to understand why the writers want to deviate from perfection.

  9. Excellent, Courtney!
    All I can add is that I hope Sam and Caitriona, as producers, are having some positive effect on S5, and S6.
    They get it, they understand what is happening, and they are in a position to do something about it….I hope!
    We shall see in early 2020….

  10. Amen. My friends and I call this “Dr Quinn Medicine Woman Syndrome”, where the female lead is sanctimonious and self-righteous to the point of being thoroughly unlikeable. Show Claire is well on her way. Toni was involved in DQMW as well, if that’s any indication.

    • Agree! I came up with the same moniker myself, for the same reasons – and have seen it elsewhere, too. We do not want DQMW, we want lovely Claire from the books, who listens to Jamie, just has he listens to her. And they have fun together, too.

    • She arrived at unlikeable for me in Season 3. I also think by changing the character of Frank in season 2 they lessened the love story and made the relationship between Jamie and Claire less strong. No matter how talented Tobias Menzies is, Frank should have remained Frank. A bit arrogant, less likable, a bit of a temper, somewhat sanctimonious and stuffy. Not a match for Claire. I think the actor was given too much leeway to change the character of Frank. For me it made the central love story less believable.

      • Shari, I agree and think that the change in Leoghaire also contributed to this issue. How can we look at Jaime in the same way when he was making excuses for his marriage when she approached him half dressed? WHY would he ever forgive her, and why would she turn repentant, considering her hatred? Unbelievable on many levels! The folks at Starz need to read the books

      • I agree Shari. and then when Murtagh did not die at Culloden I knew we were definitely headed in a dubious direction. Throws the subsequent book’s plots totally out of whack! So, we really do question where TV Outlander is headed. I kept saying “this is not what Ron Moore” promised us! To stay true to the books because that is what he promised his wife, Terri who put him on to the book series and Diana Gabaldon.” As others have said I love that Starz committed to do the Outlander book series and do not want to see it end, but I have to agree with Courtney’s opinion piece that I fear Mr Hirsch is stereo typing the viewers of Outlander in a very machismo way. I am 72 and loving Outlander, and as an aside Counterpart I loved because it was complicated and intriguing so that is what I relax to after a hard days work (still working after 50+ years!).

  11. I totally agree with everything you said. It gets tiresome for me watching Claire act as if she knows it all and getting into trouble because of it.
    When Diana wrote these wonderful books it was Jamie’s story. Then it became Jamie and Claire’s story and how they make a long-term marriage survive despite incredible odds. What is wrong with that story line?
    I agree the story has strayed too far from the source material…it bothers me a lot that anyone-especially the writers of this series – question Diana’s story and think they know better.
    I am angered by the fact that Jamie’s character has been changed so much that it’s hardly recognizable and that Claire – in my perspective, has been turned into an arrogant , selfish shrew. That may be harsh but that is how I see it. Too much is being deleted from the story to follow these made-up insignificant story lines.
    I am not the best writer and I know this is long but I am disappointed in the directions the show has taken. Jamie and Claire adore and respect each other. Why can’t we see more of that?

    • I always loved that Jamie was the ultimate gentleman. Every woman’s hope for a grand kind loving partner, a real man. Men who watched the show could see the eyes on their wife/girlfriend widen and a quiet sigh leak out as she watched what a real man can be to his woman. I am guessing that a few of them might have learned something. one can only hope…

  12. Agree that we want a balance between female / male characters. I think you pretty much nailed it.

    Second comment: Hirsch is an idiot & if he reported to me, he’d be gone. Here’s why: that info about audience, targets, demographics etc? Yes everyone in marketing uses those – but they are internal. INTERNAL INFO. You don’t release that to public, because you risk alienating anyone who is not in your target market. And guess what? Even the ones in targeted group may be put off by being viewed as a ‘target’. And he clearly doesn’t understand how his audiences think. I miss Chris. & Ron.

  13. Thank you Courtney for writing this great piece and putting so well exactly what we want to see in the show.

  14. I have not read the books yet so I can’t compare. However I watch the series because of the love between J & C, because of the history, because of the excellent acting. Having said all that, Claire is becoming very annoying and a real turn off. I never considered this Claire’s story. I think it’s a mistake to call it that. Truth be told there would be no story one without the other. My husband enjoys the show also. I can tell you he’s not watching it to catch a glimpse of Sam with his shirt off.

  15. So well said, Courtney!

    Thank you for this. I hope Mr. COO gets the picture, and doesnt insist on mansplaining it to us.

    I thought his perception of the demographic was stupid and insulting. I

    I am all for strong women, having been one all my life.

    As a 74-year fan of show, books and cast, I do not appreciate being marginalized by a superannuated child.

    Grow up, Mr. COO. You can do it.

    • I’m 74 also and have never been such a fangirl as I am (or was) now. But they are messing with our MAN! Jamie! And in my opinion not treating him or showing him the way he was meant to be by Dianna, the mother of them all.

    • I absolutely agree with you.
      How judgemental, ignorant and arrogant is he.
      How shallow is he to comment on things he clearly has no awareness of.

  16. Bravo Courtney! Excellent piece! We can only hope that The Powers That Be, Writers and Producers will finally get it!

  17. You have done an excellent job of voicing my expectations and reasons for watching Outlander. I have been an ardent fan of Diana Gabaldon’ s books ever since discovering them 11 years ago. Thank you for explaining your point of view so well, and mine also. Incidentally, I am 81 and hoping to live long enough to read book 10!

  18. You are positively 100% spot on and beautifully written. Hopefully the powers that be see it and take it to heart b

  19. Thanks you, Courtney. I read this piece and yours from yesterday and agree on all counts. Mr. Hirsch is condescending and misogynistic and his view of “premium women” and what they want is so off base. If I were Diana I would be furious. How do we get our opinion on this communicated without having to cancel Stars? Thanks for always being a thoughtful and strong advocate for the OL we know and love.

    • Pressed for time today and keep trying to hit “like” under so many of these thoughtful , spot on reactions to Courtney’s thoughtful,
      spot on letter to the powers that be.

  20. I stopped watching Outlander mid-way through Season 3 for all the reasons you mentioned. Also, although I had purchased a Gold ticket for Highlanders 3 I just wasn’t excited enough anymore to make the trip.
    All because of the lack of focus on our couple’s relationship as well as the lack of passion and chemistry. If you don’t know what I mean just watch Season 1.

    • completely agree, Janice, however, hope springs eternal in my heart, therefore I continue to watch but have stopped recommending the TV series to friends who have not heard of Outlander. True, there are very few of them!!

  21. This! Exactly This!!! ‘Outlander is about the Jamie and Claire relationship, and how everything branches out from (and leads back to) that.” When episodes take on a different agenda, we still watch, but we don’t love it, and my experience is the audience is becoming more and more disgruntled. (I am speaking for a large contingency of fans I hear from through my blog and the many Outlander SM channels I frequent).’ thank you for saying so succinctly how i feel.

    • Bottom line, the Outlander demographic skews older, as evidenced by the number of gray and white heads who shell out significant bucks to attend Outlander panels at comicons and other fan events. We have a voice. We have discretionary income. And we will vote with our feet if the show continues to veer too far from the very real, complex, passionate, balanced relationship between Jamie and Claire which you have so eloquently described.

  22. Courtney thank you for this brilliant piece of writing! You have put into words exactly what all of us who love the books and have come to love the show, believe. STARZ has an agenda with their programming I have long suspected that and Mr. Hirsh confirmed that. They want to push the “strong “ woman to the audience that they have identified as their target audience. The huge mistake that they have made is in their understanding of what makes a strong woman and the intelligence and sophistication of their audience. I won’t repeat what Courtney has so eloquently expressed in this regard, but if S5 continues in the same vein I will stop watching. I refuse to hate watch a show and characters I have come to love. Chapeau Courtney!??????

  23. Thank you, thank you,Courtney for this follow up piece to yesterday’s blog.
    I went to bed last night, here in OutlanderLand, feeling angry,insulted and horrified by the implications in Mr.Hirsch’s comments.
    Thank you for being so articulate and thoughtful in your piece..I hope it is brought to the attention of TPTB.
    I am now a wee bit more hopeful about Season 5..and I truly hope Sam and Caitriona can have a positive influence going forward.
    I do miss the writers in the early episodes..they seemed to know and understand the original source material.
    I follow all your online posts and would love to hear what your wonderful ‘discussion’ panel think of this latest bombshell.

    • What did happen to the earlier writers? They are not here any more by choice, or what? What was the reason for the change in writers? Maybe the powers that be need to look at that and who made that mistake by letting them go in the first place. Sorry, I don’t know about the background of this issue. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! They were doing just fine from the beginning!

  24. Thank you Courtney, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I agree 100% with you. I read the books first and then, to my joy, the series was created, But, oh dear, how sad I feel for Diana’s wonderful character James Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser. He is lost to the Surgeon that is his beloved wife Claire by the end of season 4.

  25. Perfectly written. You could not be any clearer. I do think that Starz need to realize by cutting down the episodes is a big mistake as by having more to a series enable more to take place from the books.

  26. I totally agree with you Courtney! I love the books but haven’t watched any of the TV adaptations til this summer when I binged Seasons 1-4. This was actually in preparation of my rereading books 5&6 and continuing on with the series of Diana’s marvelous works. I wanted a bit of a review as life has kept me away from the novels and a taste of how the actors spoke the characters’ words. Thanks for writing this and speaking for women like us who enjoy both the well-developed male and female characters and the relationships between/among them.

  27. You are spot on in your observations. But, my hope is that the later start in filming and premiere of the show, represent changes have been made with the addition of Sam and Cait to the production staff. Perhaps the 2 of them are dragging the writers back to the Jamie and Claire show. Rather like a ship that has been rudderless they have become a guiding force. The wind will be back in the sails and our couple will be back! An older, shopping demographic fan!

    • Cheryl! from your lips to their ears! Great idea. Those two talented ones know those characters better than anyone is my guess! Here’s hoping!

  28. Well said! Atta girl Courtney! Thank you for yanking out of my head (and many others too I’m sure) exactly our feelings and expressing them so perfectly. It seems Clair gets crabbier (I actually had one fangirl friend of mine, get so irritated with that bs, she left my house saying she couldn’t stand the whining anymore. She did manage to survive until she finished her made in Scotland 12 year old whisky we always only serve when we watch and celebrate OUTLANDER) and her once extraordinary brave Jamie gets whimpier by the minute. Then out of the ethers dead (very dead) cheating husband of Claire’s and the finally many years dead rapest of Jamie seems to pop up again and again with a script invented and inserted until it feels like to just give a fav actor (of someone’s) a $$gig while great stuff written by our beloved writer about our beloved couple, somehow gets oopsy, oh no room left on the screen. Please read the books! Everyone gets that there isn’t time or money to shoot every kiss between the actual main characters in the less and less episodes determined by, I assume again about the money. The producers brilliantly have discovered the best and only actor imaginable who can really be the Jamie the fans felt while reading the superb story. Yet from the beginning he seemed to be really under utilized. I am 74 and have for the first time read and reread an entire series of books over and over and I am not alone. I read a lot and have many shelves of books, most of which are not fiction. But somehow this story went so directly to my heart that my 70th birthday gift, at my request, was a lovely trip to Scotland with my husband and my daughter and her husband and mother in law for a couple of weeks. and I intend to go again. We are looking at the 75th celebration coming up. Anyway just want you to know that not all fan girls are the same. However, I do think most fans feel about the same about the way the scripts have been lately and are hoping for better. I own all the books, all the Dvds and all the side books and even every magazine with articles about Outlander and I am not alone. Just sharing. and Thank you for Outlander. I have a fresh bottle of 12 year old Scotland scotch sitting on the table in its lovely original box just waiting for the next episode. See what you can do for us will ya Courtney? And thank you for all your committed hard work for us.

  29. So well stated, Courtney and everyone who commented. I just hope these comments get to people who will read and understand our thoughts and get back to Diana ‘s writ ing. Jamie is so much more than window dressing. He’s one half of a beautiful relationship. Claire is the other half, not more not less. My marriage is truly a partnership and that’s what I love about Outlander.

  30. I also want to say thank you for voicing these things that have been bothering many of us original story (book) lovers about the show. I will continue to watch the show because I do love the actors and seeing the story brought to the screen is wonderful. I, like others have said, hope for the subtle changes back to the original essense of the novels to become more evident, but I am not holding my breath either. And I do hope to see seasons beyond 5 and 6, but wonder if that will actually happen.

  31. Thank you Courtney for putting our concerns in a positive approach. I agree completely. I sincerely hope Mr. H. realizes the horrible disrespect he showed towards Sam Heughan who has promoted the show so diligently and supported the entire production team over and over in interviews and on social media. He deserves better from someone in leadership.

    The people who pay for Starz subscriptions also deserve to be treated with respect and not looked upon or spoken about with such condescension. He totally missed the mark.

    I am an eternal optimist when it comes to the Outlander series. I keep hoping for the quality of writing and directing that I saw in Season 1. I want the real Claire and Jamie, not cranky, condescending, bossy Claire and her sidekick Jamie. As a matter of fact all the females on the TV series seem to fit the same bossy mold, and the men seem to be there for them to order around.

    Thanks again Courtney. I hope someone in power sees what you wrote and takes it to heart.

  32. Bravo! After reading Mr Hirsch’s piece on his ideas of “Premium women”(????) and the IMHO insulting eye-candy impression of Jamie Fraser, I was initially enraged, then after cooling down, I honestly felt that someone at Starz would be “What the blazes is all this nonsense?” When I read both your articles, I sincerely hope that Starz (& I’m sure yours will not be the only feedback they receive!) consider the foolishness of this executive’s thought process. Personally speaking, I can see if S5 continues promoting Claire’s character to the detriment of Jamie’s, we – the Premium Women (if that isn’t insulting enough!) will show Starz the value of our pocketbooks! Enough of having people hitch their personal promotion to the Female First agenda. Yes to character equality, No to reversing that inequality so that female characters are castrating their male counterparts. DGs books perfectly demonstrate strengths and weaknesses in her characters, which is why we readers can relate to their relationships. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful and rational piece.

  33. Thoroughly agree! Well said and i dearly hope they have someone checking what fans are saying and will take on board our concerns etc

  34. Wow, loving the brilliant comments – you all speak my language! I encourage the man to read the books and then read back over editions of this blog – it is truly the most intelligently and thoughtfully presented of any I’ve read.

  35. Exactly right. It’s as if the words you wrote came out of my mouth. Thanks for voicing my deepest feeling about Outlander!!!

  36. An Apology is due to Mr. Sam Heughan The Starz Coo totally missed the point, to state Sam Heughan is nothing more than eye candy, is such an insult to the actor who has given an outstanding performance each season. If he would just watch the gut wrenching performance in S1 episode 15 and 16 maybe his eyes would be opened? The COO’s blatant sexism is belittling to fans and the actor. If they mentioned Claire’s body as a reason people watch there would be reactions all over SM. He also misses the loss of viewers each season as they diminish Jamie’s character. I know many who actually turn away (like myself) during the gory operation scenes. 100’s complained that they had time to drill holes in a man’s head yet no time for character development. The story is unique because the leads in the book learn from each other and grow as a team. His attitude partially explains why they allowed Bree to smack her father and not even apologise. It explains why they are cutting back on Jamie and CLaire. He is encouraging the producers to shift to a younger demographic who the COO assumes have no intellectual viewing interests. I feel he owes Sam Heughan and the fans who watch the show due to a love of the complicated plot of the books, a public apology.

    • I absolutely agree with you.
      Sam’s Outstanding Acting…along with so so many of the Cast deserves better than this, and so do we…the Fan’s.
      As you say, insulting… that’s putting it politely.
      He has shown his…Ignorance..and Arrogance.

  37. Thank you! That’s EXACTLY what I want – a complex relationship between EQUAL PARTNERS. Sometimes Jamie saves the day, sometimes Claire does, but Claire’s role shouldn’t supersede Jamie’s. I get so tired of the show making Jamie seem weak. He’s STRONG in the books. I also hate Claire looking like she’s brushing his love off – not really appreciating him. It happens TOO much. What Ira Steven Behr, Anne Kenney, and others brought to earlier Outlander episodes are a real man in the form of Jamie and a much better partnership between he and Claire. WOMEN DON’T WANT TO SEE JUST STRONG WOMEN, WE LONG TO SEE STRONG AND LOVING PARTNERSHIPS WITH MEN. Please get a real woman or a focus group to help you keep this show on track so we don’t get more wasted episodes like we saw when Claire came back to Jamie and then wasn’t sure about it all, or, God forbid, like the total wasted episode of Cream DeMenthe. Jamie never had to say “you’ll come back?” to Claire in the books. He knew her and she knew him-and their love endured. Yes, both Sam and Caitriona are spectacularly beautiful people physically – but they’re also good souls in their hearts, which shines through when given the chance. LET THIS BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP SHINE. NO MORE WEAK JAMIE! WE WANT A STRONG, COMPLEX COUPLE TO LEAD THIS SHOW!

  38. AMEN! And I only watched season 4 once and don’t plan to purchase the DVD, ever. I’ve cancelled STARZ and will wait until I have some verification that Season 5 is worth watching.

  39. Totally agree and thank you for being so articulate about this issue. I fervently hope that the appropriate people hear you. I’ve been broken hearted about their seemingly losing the depth and complexity of the Jamie/Claire relationship. And I cringe over some of the things they have Claire do- like drilling into the head of the guy she knocked down.

  40. Interesting to me that every single comment has been in support of the idea that we want to see Jamie and Clare as equally strong people in a loving relationship. I’m hopeful that someone at Starz is reading this, and that although much of season five has been filmed, maybe it will affect the editing. I too would love to see the series that reflect very basis of the books better. Thanks, Courtney for saying what so many of us obviously feel, but haven’t articulated.

  41. I wrote the following comment last night and stated that I hoped someone would start a petition. I want to thank you, Courtney, for this excellent response. I have spent quite a bit of money to keep Starz year round so I can watch any episode I want at any time, AND I have also bought all of the dvds, both regular and blue ray for Seasons 1-4. Once Outlander has finished its run, I do not feel any great need to keep this network UNLESS it develops other series with both strong male and female leads. I hope Mr. Hirsch gets the message that women viewers want the Jamie Fraser character of Season 1 back for all future seasons AND we want a Claire who is not only strong but also sensitive AND vulnerable. Many of us have found Claire’s character as developed in seasons 2-4 a bit hard to take at times. In season 1 we were able to see her as a strong, intelligent BUT ALSO sensitive and vulnerable woman. I think particularly of the entire episode when Jamie rescues Claire from the prison, when both characters show their anger and their vulnerability, the episode when they argue over Jamie’s marrying Longhair, the witch trial episode, and the final two episodes of season 1. These episodes gave us the Claire and Jamie relationship that we WOMEN want. I hope and pray that we see that Jamie and Claire again in all of Outlanders upcoming seasons!
    I am 71, a young 71 but still 71, and am an avid fan of Outlander for several reasons: the books!!! the actors and their fine acting and portrayals of these characters, the costumes, the sets, and, usually, the story telling in the Starz series. This article has the good, the bad, and the UGLY. The good: it sounds like Starz is in for the long haul with our beloved series; the bad and I might add STUPID: calling Jamie/Sam: eye candy. OMG!!!!!!! This guy does not have a clue as to what we “Premium” or whatever women find so attractive about Jamie Fraser’s character. The comment about his needing to watch Season One is right on target. Jamie demonstrates the strength, integrity, intelligence, courage. and loyalty which any true heroic figure should have, along with a sensitivity, love for family and friends, and sense of humor that make him a very unusual and attractive man. On top of that, his love for Claire is deep and true, and the way he appreciates and respects her as his equal makes him, as Claire says, “the king of men”; and the UGLY: the attitude this Starz COO displays in all of his comments. I find it sadly ironic and insulting that he seems to think making Claire’s character stronger and Jamie’s some type of a “boy toy” is going to please his “target” audience. If he wants to lose us, his words and ideas are a good start! I hope someone can find his address and start a petition.


    • Thank you, Blithe, for including several examples of J & C’s “anger and vulnerability” scenes. They grew as a couple by strongly voicing their anger in these scenes. The one I agonized over being deleted from S2 was in the “Faith” episode when Jamie goes to her in Fountainblu, and we are given the opportunity to see HIS heartbreak over losing Faith, HIS anger over her sleeping with King Louis, and the near breakup of their marriage. That little snippet at the end of the episode, which had originally had more of Jamie’s POV which was left on the cutting room floor, didn’t do justice to their characters. They could have expanded into the next episode, “The Foxes Lair” and eliminated the Leoghaire fabrication.

  42. Wow! Your comments are spot on Courtney and reflects what so many fans think. Let’s hope the powers that be take this to heart so that we can continue to enjoy this incredible love story between a strong man and the woman he loves. Diana’s books are classics and deserve to be presented as they were written.

  43. I hope you don’t think you are speaking for everyone cause you sure dont speak for me. I love Claire and she is my favourite character period. The Claire i know and love was missing last season and took a backseat to rhe so called king of men. I love bad ass Claire and she was missing last season.

    • Where in her piece did Courtney claim to be speaking for everyone? She expressed her opinion which a lot of people seem to share. Additionally did you watch the same S4 that a lot of us did? Both Jaime and Claire , the characters were hollowed out and missing in large chunks of S4. Obviously your favorite character is Claire but I don’t understand your disdain for the Jamie character, the Claire you love travelled back in time and gave up everything to go back to him after 20 years apart. Clearly to her he is the King of all Men. Lastly you can disagree without being disagreeable, try it sometime.

      • When you write this is what we want, then you do assume that you are speaking for everyone! It is annoying and frankly pretentious.

  44. I am 65 and have read all 8 books prior to the show and eagerly awaiting book 9. I am not normally an avid reader so when a book series can keep my attention through each book and at the end wanting more, then the writer has done a brilliant job describing the settings and each characters’ relationships. “Outlander” is a very well written love story which just happens to include time travel and historical events. Being of Scottish heritage and knowing about the demise of the clans, this series has additional interest for me. Some deleted scenes from the book series should have been included although I realize that time is a huge factor. I like strong women roles but Claire’s power should not take any power away from Jamie. Both characters are equal. Granted the book is written “as told by Claire” in the beginning , by Jamie after they wed, and should now be characterized per the book (equality). Thank you!!

  45. Thank you so much, Courtney. This is spot on, and I hope future series will concentrate once more on this equal relationship of two intelligent people who actually listen to each other. I am 66 and a serial devourer of all Diana’s books.

  46. Very well said! I totally agree. I am thankful for season 1… got me reading a series of great books, I had not even heard of. But as written above it is the great acting jobs of BOTH stars… and the ongoing interaction and growing relationships that keep me coming back… despite somewhat disappointing adaptations. I continue to hope for better. I am certainly a little older that J. Hirsch’s perceived demographics. But hope to continue on thru the whole 8 or maybe 9 books . I love Sam and Caitriona’s acting… but one doesn’t work without the other. So keep hoping and always waiting for more seasons!

  47. Courtney, you hit the nail square on the head!!!! I fear the assumptions being made by Mr. Hirsch about the Outlander “Premium” audience wanting a strong female character above all else are a result of the over-sensitization American society is now experiencing. I am not bashing the Me Too people, the Millennials, or any other group of women advocates. I am neither a feminist nor an anti-feminist. For me Outlander is a love story that transcends time, stereotypes, cultures, and commonality. Please Diana, Caitriona, and Sam STAND UP for the essence of this story and assert your contractural rights to impact the ongoing development of the characters. It is a story of love and partnership, not of females from the future eventually dominating men “living in the past.”

  48. Thank you for speaking for us! Well said. The books are full of complex characters and situations that all revolve around an amazing love story between 2 equal, strong, dynamic and beautiful people. The show has been diverging from this as they moved past season 1. The show has turned Roger and Bree into wimpy boring people. They have left out key story elements( hello who is Roger actually!).
    We love to see Jamie as King of Men…. with all of his complexities. And Claire as a modern brave woman following her heart AND trying to save the world. And while we are on the subject…. what happened to their intimate moments? Did someone decide that we women dont want to watch the greatest love story (or naked Jamie)?
    Please read all of our comments. We are telling you what we want… and why!!

  49. Every season, no matter how good or bad is, or how much screen time and story lines Jamie has, I read the same. Jamie is somehow not enough the hero the women on social media build up in their minds. I am tired of it. The show is far from perfect and if they keep listening to these continuous mislead blogs and/or Heughan social media fanatics , it will only get worse. Jamie had the most screen time and story line in season 4 and it showed. It kinda sucked.

    • Nina, if s4 sucked it is certainly not because of Jamie or his storyline time. The two worst episodes (407 and 412) are Jamie-less.

    • Nina, just to be clear I am not clamoring for some fantasy hero I’ve built up in my mind. I want an accurate representation of the character from the books that I was captivated by. I didn’t need to create a hero Jaime, Diana had already written a fantastic complex, heroic protagonist, I would like to see more of that character, not this watered down wishy washy lap dog that has been foisted un us. If Sam hadn’t been such a brilliant actor,who has been carrying the show I believe things would be much worse wrt decline in viewership. S4 sucked because of poor and inconsistent writing, as well as very questionable creative choices. However in certain episodes we got to see how magical Outlander can be when the characters are well written and the actors are able to showcase their talent. We know from episodes like “ The Birds and the Bees” and Blood of my blood “ that they are capable of producing and presenting brilliant TV. The frustration is when they seem to be unwilling or unable to produce that level consistently as they did in S1 & S2 and the first half of S3.

      • Ignorant, and Arrogant Man …. with no understanding of a Beautifully written Books, History, Outstanding Acting, Outstanding Cast, Amazing Scenery, with Beautiful Music, Beautiful Costumes, and Diana Gabalson’s humour, and incredible understanding of Love, Life, and Intimacy.

        How shallow is he to comment on things he clearly has no awareness of.

        A huge INSULT to Sam Heughan, and the Fan’s of the Books and the TV Series.

  50. Very well stated, Courtney. Thank you! You are always thoughtful and articulate. I appreciate the fact that your calm demeanour has prevailed and you have clearly, and calmly, stated how most fans feel about Outlander.

    Frankly, I was so insulted yesterday by Mr. Hirsch’s misogynistic message, I jumped off the deep end. LOL Most unusual for me, truly.

    I do hope this young man moves on because, frankly, he just doesn’t get it.

  51. Courtney, thanks for this! Couldn’t have said it better myself. You wrote exactly what all we women are now feeling after that article. Sam and Caitriona are both gifted actors and bring their all to this show. They are the reason I watch the show!

  52. Thank you, Courtney for your summary as it reflects my feelings exactly. I have been disappointed with the portrayal of Claire as a more dominant character and that over the seasons they have depicted Jamie as subjugated to Claire. I literally bristled at Hirsch’s comment regarding “eye candy”. It is disrespectful of Diana’s Jamie and certainly of Sam Heughan’s acting ability. The relationship is the star of the books for me. We will always have the books, but I have grown attached to Sam and Cait in the Outlander tv series. I will continue to watch but I am concerned about Hirsch’s comments. What a lost opportunity if the series does not work toward balance and continues to skew toward the harder female character.

  53. Thanks for this article. I am deeply offended by the statement made yesterday, about the audience and Jamie/Sam.

  54. Thanks Courtney for providing an outlet for us Outlander fans to air our disappointments about how the TV series has wandered from the books. What the producers do not realize is that the Outlander audience originally was composed of 25 years of readers of the books. We are not a bunch of TV addicts who sit around and watch anything that pops up on the screen. We subscribe to STARZ, the lesser of the cable networks and make an appointment to watch the show. The Outlander series of books is Jamie’s journey thru an adventurous life and Claire is the narrator. Claire is not the main character and Jamie is not her side kick. Some changes can be tolerated for the sake of TV adaptation, but in S4 when Tobias Menzies and Nell Hudson were brought back because the show runners like them was the last straw. In re-watching the early episodes it is obvious that Sam Heughan is a classically trained actor and Caitriona Balfe was benefiting from on-the-job training. The show would have won an Emmy and a Golden Globe with Sam if they had promoted him instead of what they did. They treat him like a piece of eye candy when his exceptional talent is what carries the show. It is not necessary to be naked to show intimacy. There is a huge Game of Thrones audience out there looking for another big show to follow. Are they going to gravitate to what is marketed as a woman’s show? I don’t think so. Get rid of the bean counters and bring back the original producers who were fans of the books. Bring back the passion for the stories. What’s making everybody leave?

    • I am in complete agreement. Filling in a created for TV backstory about Bree and her dead father, as well as the ridiculous substitution of Laoghaire rather than the beautifully written introduction of Jamie’s family to Brianna, was horrendous. Particularly so because these scenes then shortened screen time so much there was no time for the powerful, humorous, and unifying birth scene or even so much as an apology from Brianna to Jamie for that outrageous slap. We did not need to hear Brianna tell Murtagh she had forgiven Jamie. We needed her to not only tell Jamie she forgave him but to also ask for his forgiveness. The best episodes of season 4, in my opinion, featured Jamie and William, and Jamie meeting Brianna for the first time. In both episodes, Jamie was strong and Sam’s brilliant acting was given free rein. Claire’s treatment of Jamie over a mistake that was at least partly her own doing once again made Claire cold and unlikeable and once again cast doubt on the strength of the central love story. I really hope Mr. Hirsch reads your comments, Courtney and realizes how many of us are becoming impatient with the decisions being made in the writers room.

      • I agree wholeheartedly. The only item I take exception with is that the meeting at Lallybroch with Bree and the Murray family had to be changed because Laura Donnelly (Jenny) was not available for filming Outlander Season 5. She was on Broadway performing in a long running show. The writers couldn’t include her, but I don’t think their solution of showing us another protracted scene that demonstrates Laoghaire’s instability was necessary.

    • It is interesting that you brought up Game of Thrones here. I had watched that series three times through to be sure my brain had everyone in their proper place, and decided last week that since there is plenty of time before Book 9 and Season 5 is released, I should tackle reading the GOT books. OMG. Season 1 followed the books exactly! Almost every scene was included, and there were very few fabrications! Two writers only, with no writers room, no yearly changing of writers, no increase in the number of writers, no political agenda, no “we realized that the guards at Ardsmuir would not have allowed Jamie to have a rosary (although Jenny had sent him a statue through “gypsy mail”), and a winning show! I don’t know yet if that continued through the series, especially as the show exceeded the books, but it is an eye opener for me.

  55. Amen to that. I wonder how old this Mr. Hirsch is………..who has his ear, and who are these “bean counters”?

  56. Thank you Courtney for engaging all of us on the Jamie/Claire relationship.
    I have not been quite affected by the changes in the personas of Claire and Jamie except for when Claire seems so aloof and distant to Jamie’s feelings at times. First of all I am an avid supporter of Diana’s books!! Her writing is beyond measure and she KNOWS women! She also knows Jamie very well. While these 2 characters have opposing feelings at times they still share the same “heart and soul” if you will. I was most bothered by Claire’s reaction to Jamie after she loses Faith and he returns from the Bastille in France. Claire of course would be disappointed that Jamie was absent for the birth but she would know in her heart that her “man” had a good reason for his absence as sad as it was. Like I said above…they are so connected and in tune with one another that that love would over power any disappointment they were feeling toward one another at any given moment. That is why Jamie states early on that he has already forgiven Claire for anything she could ever do or has done after she is rescued from Fort William. Their anger wouldn’t linger as it seems to during difficult moments in the TV show.
    There are a few other moments also where I just sort of get squeamish thinking some mood just doesn’t quite fit. I then remind myself that NO TV show will ever emulate the books. NO one can compare nor certainly replace Diana. Period. So as a solace I just read again and again her entire series. I agree completely with you Courtney when you state the enormity of the intense emotions that Diana’s books….her works of art…evoke in us readers. There really aren’t any words to describe the reading experience… it is completely a guttural reaction that steals your soul and hands it over to Jamie AND Claire! We are held hostage and completely voluntarily with no questions asked.
    As far as Jamie only being eye candy??? Stop right there!! I read Diana’s complete series BEFORE I watched the show and there were no visuals except for the finely detailed descriptions of Claire and Jamie so wonderfully written by Diana that I saw these two delightful characters perfectly in my own imagination…not a TV director’s. And those versions are seared into my memory.
    Soooo….in conclusion…the show is merely icing on the cake for Diana’s books first me. Creativity and its expression can’t really be quantified. That being said I concede to the directors and producers to use their own judgement. I am really EXCITED to see what Sam and Caitriona create for their characters!!! Bring on season 5!!
    All being said I will always be a die hard Outlander fan….always!!❤

  57. Yessssssssss!!!!! ♥️THIS, Courtney!!!?? Succinct. Truthful. Sincere. Accurate. Now, I pray that some people hear and heed! ?

  58. Thank you Courtney – Thanks Courtney for providing an outlet for us Outlander fans to air our disappointments about how the TV series has wandered from the books, you’ve summarized our feelings nicely. We want the characters of Season I for Jamie and Cait. That is why it has become such a hit.

    I too, ” bristled” at Mr. Hirsch’s comment regarding “eye candy”. It is disrespectful of Diana’s Jamie and certainly of Sam Heughan’s acting ability. Although Sam is the physical embodiment of Jamie, more than we could ever have dreamed, If Jeffrey Hirsch and his team try to genetically modify his character and make him less than “The King of Men” I, as other’s like me will be switching off and returning to the novels.

  59. Firstly, let me say, once again, how much I appreciate you! Your insights and ability to express those insights, your willingness to open yourself up with such simplicity and clarity is truly beautiful and appreciated more than I can express.
    Secondly, I too agree with you on what “we” want….the exceptional relationship between our beloved Jamie AND Claire as EQUALS. I too am outside Mr Hirsch’s demographic and have huge hopes for his reading/hearing your message and the messages of those of us who have chimed in. STAY TRUE to Diana’s characters! I do not have any problem with additional story lines so long as they remain consistent with her characters. Once again, Courtney, Thank you for your lovely expressions. I truly hope they do not fall on deaf ears.

  60. umm well I’ve read the books now maybe 3 times…I can’t stop reading I love them I esp like how Diana has created this array of characters all based around Fraser Family that’s how you get enticement…The books are about Claire..are in Claire’s voice and her adventure as years go by she is the heroine at least that’s how I see it.Jamie is the warrior the protector and it’s about their relationship and family dynamics …no??? He is just wonderful and I see Claire following Jamie in all his quests they are great together..I think the show has stayed close to the books except for a few changes ( Bree’s Birth) would have been nice but I think they are trying their best. And when people comment that’s good but hey we are not the writers or producers we have to accept what they show us believe me I do not think anything we say will change things so we have to put our hopes and trust in the producers maybe it will be different with Sam & Cait as producers…also the love it’s not all what this is the whole circle of family dynamics..I just love it love it and thank you for all you do!!! Adele

  61. I agree with all the above comments, Ron Moore got it right in the first 2 series. Since their has gone downhill.We have enough mediocre tv without adding Outlander

  62. Courtney, thank you again for verbalizing what this fan wants from the TV show. I found OL by accident on Saturday nite after Thanksgiving 2014. Exhausted from entertaining family for days I turned on the tv and went thru time. Caught the s1ep8 when they broke till April 2015. Gave me time to devour book 1. I’m forever GRATEFUL.

  63. The emasculation of Jamie Fraser was in evidence in Season 4. I am 77, and appreciate the strength of the characters as developed by Diana Gabaldon. This series appeals to older people who value deep passion, intimacy, commitment, intelligence, loyalty, and a sense of humour. These are attributes of James Fraser. The casting people chose wisely. Sam Heughan portrays these characteristics in the ways that Gabaldon defined them. His physical beauty is important in the novels, and should not be reduced to a facile, shallow portrayal for the purpose of titillating an immature audience just to prop up the reputation of a network’s officer with Hollywood aspirations. Oh, and my brother, who is 74, and a huge film buff, agrees with me. Sam Heughan was awarded two honorary PhDs. Think they give these away for nothing? Wise up, Starz, and pay attention to the author. Thank you.

    • Cranial surgery after a 20 year separation important? Long boring story recited, to fool Jack Randall, that did not make much sense? Looong boring trek in the jungle? Jamie really needed Claire’s help to kill Dougal? Really? I know those books by heart. I have just realized that I did not know that there was a specific age to enjoy different books. I read in my teens where the characters were older than I was. Was tthat wrong? I now enjoy novels whose charaters are younger than some of my grandchildren. Hearts and minds have no age and anyone who doubts that is very out of touch.

  64. Courtney, you hit the nail on the head! So well expressed and my feelings Exactly!! Thank you for stating the feelings I could not put into words.

  65. Thank you for validating my thoughts in a most eloquent way possible. I would never have pulled it off due to my annoyance during most episodes. I’ve written before and will again. The dialogue between J and C is always a pleasure to read. It’s just so well done. So we’ll done by Diana that we readers fall in love with him as well. This also happened during S1 on screen. Even the reunion was botched once Jamie said ,”It’s really nice to see you again Claire” Excuse me, but WTF? That’s right. I was sick to my stomach. I cannot even watch S2 again due to the absence of Jamie’s character. The irresistible man in S1 disappeared. Replaced by a weak, liberal puppet and Claire the She-Devil. It may be too late for S5 to recoup, but seeing Jamie’s new look/hair gives me an iota of hope.

  66. On Sunday morning after 1am we had our alarm set so we could watch the new episode of Outlander. We are both over 70 yrs old and married over 50 years. We had enjoyed the programs until the 3 rd season that’s when we stopped getting up during the night to watch. My husband had really liked Claire but had begun to dislike the way she was acting toward Jamie and others. I just did not like the direction the show was taking. I guess the COO doesn’t worry about possible loss of viewership. Maybe he should read some of these comments and pay attention to them. Hopefully there will be a change coming this next season.

  67. I agree! If they are trying to push the “female” roll to the forfront to pacify the so called feminists and “me too” movement………..PLEASE STOP!! Jamie was the strong character in the books and that’s what the show should portray. I like Claire’s character, but Jamie is the real lead of the series. I’m anxious to see how season 5 plays out!!

  68. Your latest message can be best described as “an iron fist in a velvet glove”… did not shy away from addressing the issue of a “number cruncher” making a broad statement about women and favoring a group called “premium women.” Women in the entertainment industry have not been treated as “premium” entities. They have been more like “collateral” goods. But this story is not about political identities. It’s about telling a story truthfully. It is a story about Jamie Fraser as told by Claire. Does anyone really believe that millions of books would have been sold without Diana’s version of Jamie? A chance for women of all ages to see a perfect man….one who loves a woman his entire life? Claire wasn’t even interesting until she met and married Jamie. She even stayed with him when given a chance to return to Frank. Book Jamie is beautiful/open/honest/willing to die for love. All women love Jamie.

  69. I agree with the sentiments in Courtney’s article/letter. The COO seems to feel that ‘older’ premium women are between the ages of 24 – 54. I’m not sure if there is a dictionary definition of ‘premium women’ but the dictionary definitely would not categorize older as starting at 24. Does that mean that 54+ is ancient? Also, as Courtney mentioned very eloquently, the reason we (yes even, maybe especially?, we ancient ones) love this story so much is the relationship between the two main characters. In the books it is an equal partnership and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. THAT’s what we want to see – not necessarily the sex scenes. Intimacy is soooo much more than sex. Please do not insult Sam by calling him eye candy, he is an excellent actor with so much more to offer than his body. The casting company has done a fantastic job with casting but the writing seems to have gone somewhat off track in order to provide the ‘premium women’ with eye candy and a strong female. We want to go back to the relationship that the books show. A strong relationship with a strong female and a strong male lead.

  70. Well said.
    In my opinion, all they need to do is to stay true to Diana Gabaldon’s ‘CHARACTERS’ . They did this in Season One but sadly it went slowly down hill from there, and the result in Season 4 was,…
    Jamie and Claire were nothing like these Character’s that Diana created, = Weak Jamie, (Victim)… and a Controlling, Over Mothering, (including Jamie), and to be polite.. Bossy, Unhappy Claire.

    Diana wrote Jamie as a Laird, Leader, and Lover, with Passion and Strength in everything he did. In Diana’s books… that NEVER changes!
    He and Claire remained a Team..

    Diana Gabaldon’s writings are Profound, and her books have and continue to, sell by the Millions, that speaks for its self.
    Changing the personalities of the main Character’s has proved to be a poor decision.
    Of course we admire a very beautiful woman and a very handsome man, clothed or half naked, but we fell in Love with the Character’s that Diana created, and their Story.

  71. All of this and may I add:

    I’m all in favor of shows about strong women, but I am not here for the strong woman cliche. And there is a big difference.

    And I’m not here for any storyline that suggests that in order for a woman to be strong a man must be diminished or weakened. The Outlander story is about strong women standing shoulder to shoulder with strong men. As equal partners.

  72. You have got to the heart of the matter! Very profound and intelligently written. You have a great gift. I love Outlander – there was something so powerful and magical about Season 1 – so fresh and very different. Somehow after Season 2 – the navigation changed. I have watch Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 over and over, and read the books repeatedly as well, and sensed the concept change. Outlander is Jamie and Claire and their love for each other. We have, as Outlander fans, love the Jamie and Claire in Diana Gabaldon’s books, we cherish them for who they are. I feel that Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are perfectly suited for them, and should be given full rein in keeping the true nature of Jamie and Claire alive, and not to be altered by any one else. Your perspective and thoughts above were right on the mark. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts.

  73. Bravo Courtenay! You nailed it and I do hope your message travels directly to the hands and mind of Mr. Hirsch (and any other powers-that-be). I’m in the upper bracket of your demographic and have loved this story from the day I laid my itchy little fingers on the first book so many years ago. When I reread the books I can travel back in time to any of Claire’s and Jamie’s ages depicted. I’ve already been there and love to put myself in their shoes ! Would I react the same? I would really dislike to see the series become too focussed on one demographic for the sake of ratings. What of all the men who are fans? May Sam and Caitriona fight for their characters to the bitter end because I know the series will be all the better for it. And may Diana put her foot down more often when the story strays too far. we fans will be there to support them fully. Thank you for your very well-put and spot-on article. And Mr. Hirsch, pay attention!!

  74. Sadly the makers of this wonderful series are losing track of the essence of the books, the story is about the love of Claires’ life Jamie, he is a powerful figure and character, is is a dominant male with a passionate nature and a deep deep love for Claire, the whole centre of the story is JAMIE not Claire, she is not the leader in this relationship, but she does have a huge input. They are trying to produce a 21st century 18th century man and it DOES NOT WORK. I suspect the current writers haven’t even read the books, and are turning the whole thing into a pastiche. I entirely agree with all your points Courtney. I just hope that the programme makers do read these comments and yours, but sadly I have my doubts as they are probably full of their own version.

  75. Yes, absolutely. You’ve perfectly put to words our strong emotions and thoughts. What is so damn hard about that? Why doesn’t STARZ get it? I really hope the powers that be are able to read your commentary and take it to heart. Thank you!

  76. Sure hope someone from STARZ is reading this! Your sentiments reflect more than they know. If it were not for your blog and my
    wonderful fan fiction writers, I too would not bother with the show. I love Sam and Cait but Sam kept season 4 going. I hope this show ends with “a bang not a whimper.”

  77. I love and completely agree with your statements. I was wondering if we should start a poll somewhere that Mr. Hirsch could see. The options would be as you stated them vs. how he stated them. Then maybe he would see the truth of Outlander and why it really works.

  78. Lots of comments, so it’s a touchstone issue for sure & seems more of one for book readers. I agree with “We watch for the complex, layered, strong male and female lead characters, and the actors who play them. We watch to see their relationship and story unfold.”

    I also agree with “We want a well developed, complex, intelligent male character, who doesn’t always acquiesce to the female lead, and we would like Claire to be more sympathetic and aware, a well developed, complex, intelligent female character.”, but on many levels I think the series delivers this, although like in every series they stumble from time to time. I’m a Poldark fan…another period show based on books, with great actors whose characters are deeply in love. I think Outlander does a far better job of bringing C&J’s romance & relationship to the screen and keeping the continuity of that than Poldark…not even close & way off the book series.

    I can point to many times in the show where Claire shows weakness, despair & poor judgement… and where Jamie is depicted as commanding, in charge & wiser than Claire, rescuing her & comforting her. I’m sure all of you can too…not going make a list, but consider 1) how Jamie resolves the spanking issue & gets Claire out of her bratty pout, 2) how he defuses her rage at the river after he’s rescued her from BJR 3) twice he exhibited great selflessness when he delivered her to the stones, 4) Claire didn’t listen to Jamie’s warnings & went to Gellis’ house ending her in jail about to be burned at the stake & 5) After all her preparation & thinking abt her reunion with Jamie she seemed very insecure & not all that understanding of what Jamie might have been through over the 20 years they were separated.

    I would also remind that the second part of S1 opened with Jamie’s POV & Ron explained that the time had come to focus on that as well now that they were married. Claire’s narration began to disappear in a way that you almost didn’t notice it,

    I have read the books 4 times and I relish the differences between the books & show…double the pleasure. I rarely think about why the writers/producers made the adaptive choices they did…I trust them & I feel such angst would not have any value as I watch the new creation.

    All that said, the I think Jeffery Hirsh’s referring to the actors/characters & fans was a poor & foolish choice and hope he learns something from fan responses.

    Hope Ron, Matt, Toni & Maril all get to see this important feedback…thanks for writing about it, Courtney.

  79. Courtney, I hope some assistant at Starz reads this and shares with the COO. (Most likely female?) I too fear for Season 5, although hoping that Sam and Caitriona will have some input. Not just because of the trajectory of the last 4 seasons, but because of the Fiery Cross itself. It is a lovely discussion of family life, taking care of babies, nursing others to health, Jamie’s religious beliefs (which have barely made it into the show) – but all takes place in one location. Unlike the previous books, where Jamie & Claire run all over the place & have one adventure after another. I fear the writers will make up scenes to “spice up” the basic text, taking us further & further from our beloved characters.

    • I began to read the first part of “The Fiery Cross” but quickly skipped to page 200 or so. The show absolutely needs to be creative with Season 5. Not that much happens in the book until near the end. The show needs to create an interesting story and go a different way than the books. What you describe isn’t interesting for TV. DG has said, put down the books and enjoy the show.

  80. You always hear we loved seasons1 and 2 for the sex…which was good and amazingly acted…but what I miss more than anything is all the growing and evolving complex relationships that made the story rich. Jamie’s maturation, Dougal’s strengths as leader, patriot, compassionate laird, but scheming war chief and uncle. Rupert and Angus and Ned and their loyalty, humor, and comradeship. Jenny, Ian, and Jamie’s history and bond. Black Jack’s sadism. It was all so lush and layered. Even Claire’s growth in seeing more nuances vs the black and white, opinionated bull in a china closet place she started. Seasons 3 and 4 lost so much of that richness and Claire went backwards becoming more domineering vs strong, less loving…well, just less. While seeing Sam shirtless is always a pleasure, it won’t make us love Outlander again. Good writing, acting, and character development will. And calling fans dumb and shallow won’t make us love Starz, making Outlander better will. Calling Sam “eye candy” might make him think twice about being such an enthusiastic ambassador for the show and network. Shame on you Mr. Hirsch for insulting so many so quickly with your I’ll considered comments.

  81. Please send this stellar response, and comments to the Hollywood Reporter…., “Mr.” ( and I use the term loosely ) Hirsh and the producers / writers of Outlander! Ron et al, were, in the beginning, excited and pumped to have a READY MADE fan base to the TV series, and promised to be faithful to the book. They succeeded in Season 1. Not sure what happened after that.

  82. Is there an address or fb page where we can address our concerns? The article you referenced made me so frustrated I was tempted to cancel my STARZ subscription. If Mr. Hirsch thinks we want eye candy, he can pick up the rights to some trashy romance novel with a near naked man on the front for pennies on the dollar. That is NOT what the Outlander fan desires. I was beyond disappointed in his comments and frankly felt betrayed….yes, we Outlander fans take our books and characters that seriously. I sincerely hope he gets the word before our series is destroyed.

  83. Courtney – wow you are so right! I agree exactly with your observation that, we want Starz series to have the characters of Claire and Jamie “ to be of equal value, with equal say, complementary, but different: uniquely male and female, true to their respective time periods, and the one in which they find themselves. The story is about two exceptional humans in a respectful, lifetime love relationship.” Please, please Ron Moore, Et Al read this and do this!

  84. Claire was never very sympathetic or understanding in the book. She is NOT my favorite character in the book. Jamie is.

    • I agree with most of what has been said here about books/series and character development. I also loved Season 1. Season 1 ran 16 episodes. Subsequent seasons ran 13 episodes (with some extended episodes.) Season 5 is now reduced to 12 episodes. The books are long. Lots going on in each one. The math just doesn’t work to get complexity into reduced series lengths. What’s left is just enough time to follow plot points. If not executed with great skill the work will become a soap opera. I trust in the skill of the team and in the oversight of Diana Gabaldon.

  85. Please don’t mess up a good thing. Simple. Claire is a strong woman, yes. Jamie is a strong man. Watch him save her at the witch trials. They are partners. I won’t watch a watreed down version of Jamie or a bionic version of Clair bossing home around.

  86. Please don’t mess up a good thing. Simple. Claire is a strong woman, yes. Jamie is a strong man. Watch him save her at the witch trials. They are partners. I won’t watch a watered down version of Jamie or a bionic version of Clair bossing home around.

  87. This article says it all. Spot on! Will someone please forward this directly to Mr Hirst and to the writers. Facebook and Twitter is alive with coments saying exactly this. Well done Courtney

  88. Some of us DO love the show! Please only speak for yourself. Both show Claire and show Jamie are strong, and for the life of me I do not see Claire belittling Jamie on the show. And season 4 is all Jamie, not much of Claire at all, so why still complaining?

    • I also love the show and am patiently waiting for Season 5 to start. No complaints from me that’s for sure.

  89. Courtney, clearly you’ve hit a nerve. Fans of the books expect the TV show to maintain the intelligent, subtle themes we love. But, is TV developed with a different audience in mind? People who want to just be entertained, and not think too hard? Is the content thought of as just “filler,” intended to keep people paying their subscriptions? Are we asking too much? I hope not – keeping my fingers crossed for S5.

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